Relationships are Hard

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Episode Description

In this episode, Christy and Lucas explore why relationships can be so hard. Join them as they discuss the characteristics of both healthy and toxic relationships, talk about the difference between normal conflict and abuse, and help you discover your love languages so you and your partner can best express your love to each other.

What to Expect

  • Learn why relationships can be complicated.
  • Understand the importance of healthy communication.
  • Discover the expectations and behaviors indicative of healthy relationships.
  • Reflect on the challenges in your own relationships and don't be afraid to seek help.

About the Hosts

Christy Wilkie provides therapy for children and adolescents, ages 5-25, who have complex behavioral health issues. She combines her extensive clinical expertise with a belief in kids, and has a unique ability to find and develop their strengths. She works hard to be an ideal therapist for her clients, doing what is best to fit their needs.

Lucas Mitzel provides therapy for children, adolescents, and adults, ages 5 - 30. He believes building relationships with clients is the most important piece of successful therapy. He loves what he does, because it allows him to walk next to people he would never have met had he chosen a different profession, as they work to make amazing life changes. He has the honor of meeting people at their worst, all while watching them grow into the people they’ve always wanted to be.

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Relationships are Hard

Featuring Christy Wilkie, LCSW, and Lucas Mitzel, LCSW, Dakota Family Services

Announcer: (00:00)
This episode of, is It Just Me, is brought to you by Dakota Family Services, your trusted partner in mental and behavioral health, whether you need in-person or virtual care, the team of professionals at Dakota Family Services is dedicated to supporting children, adolescents, and adults in their journey to better mental health.

Christy Wilkie: (00:21)
Disrupting life patterns and life routines that aren't serving you.

Lucas Mitzel: (00:26)
It's how we feel that keeps us going.

Christy Wilkie: (00:29)
You can be a masterpiece and a work of art all at the same time.

Lucas Mitzel (00:00):

Hey everyone, I'm Lucas Mitzel.

Christy Wilkie (00:03):

And I am Christy Wilkie.

Lucas Mitzel (00:03):

 And you're listening to the, is It Just Me podcast.

Christy Wilkie (00:05):

Where we aim to provide education, decrease the stigma, and expel some myths around mental health.

Lucas Mitzel (00:11):

Christy, is it just me or are relationships hard?

Christy Wilkie (00:13):

Not just you. I can tell you that for sure.

Lucas Mitzel (00:17):

Why are they so hard?

Christy Wilkie (00:19):

You know, I think there's a number of reasons why relationships can be hard. And I think, you know, saying that they're difficult is one thing. Saying that they're complicated is maybe another, I do think relationships can be complicated, and part of that is because I don't always know that any of us know what we're doing, because no two people are the same.

Lucas Mitzel (00:36):

Yeah. And we all have a variety of different backgrounds and things that we've gone through that we bring into every relationship.

Christy Wilkie (00:44): Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.

Lucas Mitzel (00:45): And then you have to try and navigate that with another person who has their own stuff.

Christy Wilkie (00:46): Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>

Lucas Mitzel (00:47 ): to navigate. And it can be hard.

Christy Wilkie (00:51):

It can be hard. And not just romantic relationships. Right. We're talking friend relationships. Colleague relationships. Relationships is a very general term. And we all bring that into every interaction that we have with somebody else.

Lucas Mitzel (01:03):

Yeah. And so a lot of people when they talk about relationships, they'll talk about them either being toxic or abusive or healthy. And so when we're looking at a, like, sort of like a romantic relationship, because I think that's the big one that is probably causing the most distress or the most, um, anxiety or whatever with people. What do you think of when you think of like a toxic relationship? Like what does that mean to you?

Christy Wilkie (01:26):

There's several things that, that means to me. The big, the first thing that came to mind when you asked me that was a power differential in some way, shape, or form where somebody is either feels like they're more in charge or feels like their needs are more important than somebody else's needs, than realizing that there's equality that has to happen in, in a relationship in some sort of balance. And when that balance is thrown off consistently, I feel like that creates a toxicity. And that doesn't, that's not meant to say like, there are some days that you need your partner to like carry the load. And there are other days when, you know, you end up carrying the load. Like there's a balance there. But when that becomes a pattern where somebody else is taking more than what they're putting into it in a lot of different ways, that I feel like contributes to toxicity in relationships.

Lucas Mitzel (02:13):

Yeah. I feel like a big piece of toxic relationships comes into how people manage conflict. And you can see a lot of our, kinda like our true selves can kind of come out, or like a lot of our baggage can come out in a middle of a conflict.

Christy Wilkie (02:28):

Speak for yourself. <laugh>, <laugh>.

Lucas Mitzel (02:31):

So everybody besides Christie, thank you. Thank you. Um, yeah, so when we are having these conflicts, we, our old patterns of how we manage situations can come through that and can cause bigger issues. So it's gonna be important, we'll talk about this a little bit later, like how to, how to communicate during an argument or when there's a disagreement. But a lot of the toxicity that can happen in a relationship can happen in those moments when there's a disagreement or when somebody does something that offends the other person.

Christy Wilkie (02:57):

Yeah. And I think when you look at relationships, the way that you communicate with somebody becomes a pattern with that person even. And so a lot of times when we look at relationships with people that are in the, in the office, we say you identify the patterns that are happening in your relationship and saying, where is this going wrong and how can we change that? Because it becomes a pattern when one person says something, the other person gets defensive, and then the other person gets defensive. And then it's like, well, four years ago, do you not remember <laugh> when you did this? And it's like, you're not fighting in the moment, you're fighting with the past of every fight that you've ever fought. And it's like, that is not gonna be helpful.

Lucas Mitzel (03:38):

Right. You start projecting some of these past things that have happened to you, whether that be with your parents or a past relationship onto the partner because they said the thing, or they said it a way that you had heard it before. And so now we aren't just arguing about this situation, we're arguing with somebody that's not even here. Correct.

Christy Wilkie (03:57):

I think a another thing that happens a lot of the time is that I say this ad nauseum in my office is that if you don't state an expectation, it's just a wish.

Lucas Mitzel (04:07):

Yeah. I like that.

Christy Wilkie (04:08):

And so if, if I don't tell anybody in my life, but like a romantic partner, if I don't tell them exactly what I'm expecting and then they don't do the thing that I have sent them by my mind telling 'em, I want them to do this, I want them to do this, I want them to do this. And then they don't do it, and I get super upset and they're like, I don't know why you're so upset with me. And it's like, how do you not know?

Lucas Mitzel (4:31):  Right.

Christy Wilkie (4:32): How can you not read my mind? And it's like, we are not good at setting expectations, I don't think, for ourselves and for our partners to create a healthy dynamic. It's not a bad thing to set an expectation in that your partner can't always read your mind. Not everybody is intuitive like that.

Lucas Mitzel (4:46):  Right.

Lucas Mitzel (4:47):  It's hard to just know what you want from somebody.

Lucas Mitzel (04:49):

I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with somebody where they are venting about a partner about something and they're done venting. And I said, well, did you tell them that?


Christy Wilkie (4:57):  Right.


Lucas Mitzel (4:58):  And they're like, well, no, why? Yeah, because that, that was wonderful. Like, that's very reasonable, but they have no idea that they're doing anything wrong. Right.

Christy Wilkie (05:05):

And then they get mad and it's like, and then somebody's mad that they're mad and it's like, obviously I can't do anything. Right. Right. And that's, and that's where it always comes back to. And it's like, well, if you just would listen, it's like, well, they can't listen if you're not talking.

Lucas Mitzel (5:18):  Yes.

Christy Wilkie (5:19):  So, I mean, communication, I think when you look at toxicity in relationships, a lot of it does come down to communication and forms a communication and how you're talking to somebody and the way that you're talking.

Lucas Mitzel (5:30):  Yes.

Christy Wilkie (5:31):  So we talk about communication style all the time. It's, there's assertive, there's passive, there's aggressive, and there's passive aggressive. And we all know where we fall on any given day in any of those.

Lucas Mitzel (05:40):

Yeah. I look at it as a spectrum. And so I use my whiteboard way too much when I'm doing therapy because I,

Christy Wilkie (5:47):  I can hear it.

Lucas Mitzel (5:48):   I, I know <laugh>, it's not always me. The really loud parts are probably me though. So on one side you have passive, and the other side you have aggressive, and then assertive is in the middle and around assertive, you have this little bubble. And this bubble is what I call self-respect, or I don't really call it DBT calls it that I'm stealing this from DBT. The,

Christy Wilkie (06:06):

I'm sure they would approve.

Lucas Mitzel (06:06):

I'm sure. But when we are more focused on the relationship than the objective or getting what we need or want, we tend to go more passive when we are more focused on the objective and getting what we need than the relationship. We go more aggressive.

Christy Wilkie (6:24):  Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.

Lucas Mitzel (6:25):  Now there are parts of this or situations where you need to lean in to be more aggressive, but that doesn't mean that we're yelling and screaming and, and breaking stuff or things like that. It doesn't mean threats are involved, it just means we're maybe pushing a little bit harder. So you're gonna step from like leaning towards aggressive off of the assertive realm. Whereas other times we might be more passive and if our partner says no or says they would like us to do something, we might not fight that as hard, but still state our feelings about it and still be more okay with that. When we go to extremes, that's where we have the biggest problems. And the more extreme you go, it's gonna be more toxic and potentially abusive.

Christy Wilkie (07:01):

Yeah. We strive for assertive. Right. I mean, I think in, in most communication we strive to be assertive communicators. I do think, especially in the Midwest, that assertive feels aggressive. Yeah. Even though it's not. And depending on your, your attachment style and how you were raised and your past relationships and what you bring into a a relationship, it is difficult sometimes for people to be assertive in communicating what they need or what they want or even communicate how they're feeling. Lots of times people will come in and they'll be like, I just want them to know that this is how I'm feeling. I said, well, how would you say that? Well, I would say when you do this, I well when you do this, this is how it makes me feel. Okay. What's wrong with that sentence?

Lucas Mitzel (7:39):  Right.

Lucas Mitzel (7:40):  You know, and they're like, well, I guess nothing. But it's hard to say. It is hard to say sometimes when you are not taught or role modeled in a lot of situations what it looks like to have a normal assertive conversation where you're both stating your needs and wants and you're both listening back and forth. If you've never seen that happen, it does not feel comfortable. But that doesn't mean that it can't feel comfortable.

Lucas Mitzel (08:00):

Right. It's interesting because a lot of times those conversations, I've had the same ones with people and when I ask them, well, how would you want them to communicate this to, to you? And it is exactly that. It's the healthy manner. It's saying exactly what they need, but it's really hard to do that yourself. And I think there's a lot of fear as to what's going to happen because of that, we never want our partners to leave or to be upset with us. And that can come from a place of maybe you have some past trauma or maybe you've had some bad experiences with sharing your feelings. Perhaps you weren't feeling emotionally safe in a past relationship. And when you can push past that and you have a healthy relationship and your partner responds to you in a healthy manner, they're gonna listen like, there might be a discussion about that, but they're gonna hear you out and that's really important. Otherwise you're gonna start building resentment. And resentment destroys relationships.

Christy Wilkie (08:52):

It does. I'll often put people in the shoes of their partner. Right. 'cause they'll be like, I'm feeling this way, but I don't wanna say it 'cause I'm afraid that it's gonna burden them or that they're, I I'm gonna feel like a burden or that I am being nagging or if I'm, I'm asking for too much. Right. And I was like, what if your partner was feeling that way about you or something that you were doing? Or if they felt like they didn't wanna tell you something because it was just, it was too much, or it would, it would make you run away. And they'd be like, well, I would feel terrible if my partner felt like that and they wouldn't say anything.

Lucas Mitzel (9:24):  Yeah.

Christy Wilkie (9:24):  Okay. So why does your partner not deserve to have the same knowledge of your goings on in your internal monologue, then what you are expecting from them? It's not fair.

Lucas Mitzel (9:35):  Exactly.

Lucas Mitzel (9:36):  Like you're, it's just as you're just as worthy of that sort of care and concern as as you're giving your partner.

Lucas Mitzel (09:39):Yeah. Whenever we're talking about toxic relationships, I think that the colloquial term is like red flags and

Christy Wilkie (9:47): Mmm. Yeah.

Lucas Mitzel (9:49):  I really wanna buy a red flag for my office so I can just like wave it in the air every single time.

Lucas Mitzel (9:52):  You don't have one yet.

Lucas Mitzel (9:54):   I need to get one.

Christy Wilkie (09:54): Well start with pink.

Lucas Mitzel (09:56):


Christy Wilkie (09:56):

We'd start with pink and then we move to red.

Lucas Mitzel (09:58): Yeah, Okay.

Christy Wilkie (09:59):

It's a progression. <laugh>,

Lucas Mitzel (10:01):

What are some of the red flags that you tell people to look out for?

Christy Wilkie (10:04):

Oh man. When they dominate the conversation with things that they're talking about and things that are important to them with no reciprocity in that caring about what you're doing or what's important to you.

Lucas Mitzel (10:15):

Yeah, that's a good one.

Christy Wilkie (10:16):

That to me is just like a, like, do they not want to do something you wanna do? And all of a sudden you get these people who didn't care a lick about football and all of a sudden they're the biggest, I'm gonna say Vikings fan because I can't bring it in me to say any sort of other fan.

Lucas Mitzel (10:31):  Understand.

Lucas Mitzel (10:32):  like the biggest Vikings fan ever. And it's like, you never cared about football. It's like, but they care about football, so no, I care about football. And it's like, okay, but where are you in this relationship? And you kind of feel them getting lost and kind of caught up in the identity of their partner rather than it being a balance.

Lucas Mitzel (10:45):

Yeah. Absolutely. I think another red flag, um, and this is more subjective to the individual, is whether or not they agree with your beliefs or your values that's a very important aspect of relationships that you are getting along. And I'm not saying that it's impossible to be with somebody that has perhaps an opposite political belief or religious belief or things like that, but it does make it very difficult. And I like to, like I said earlier, I like to stay away from extremes. And so I think it's a fairly big red flag when we have the extreme worldviews coming in and if they are feeling like that is a major part of their life, like that could be a red flag if you are not part of that as well.

Christy Wilkie (11:26):

 Another part of that, it's not that differences can't exist in relationships. But there is a level of respect that has to be had about the way that somebody feels about something. And a desire to want to understand where you're coming from, coming at it from a place of curiosity and not judgment.

Lucas Mitzel (11:30):   Yes.

Christy Wilkie (11:31):  With any sort of partner relationship. I think that to me is, is what is either gonna decide whether or not that's this, is this relationship gonna work or not by how you go about talking about those differences.

Lucas Mitzel (11:56):

Yeah. This just made another one pop into my head. But somebody who doesn't encourage you to pursue your passions or your talents is a red flag because they should be your biggest supporter. They should be wanting you to pursue the things that you love and enjoy. And if they're discouraging that or keeping you from doing that, that's a problem.

Christy Wilkie (12:13):

Yeah. I think one of the, because holy man, do we talk about social media a lot in our offices, but you get some of these couples that it's like they have to be in constant contact with each other all of the time. Yeah. All of the time. And it's like they're timing the snaps and they're checking snap scores and they're trying to figure out, you know, why, okay, well they didn't open mine for seven minutes and oh, I can't open mine for seven minutes. And it's like, that's such an anxious attachment style where it's like, I have to know all of the time that you are validating that you still wanna be with me, that you still like me. I mean, all of the time. Yeah. If you can't function outside of each other, that is not great.

Lucas Mitzel (12:49):

No. Or speaking of Snapchat, using the snap map to make sure that you are where you say you are and tracking you. Yeah. That's wild.

Christy Wilkie (12:57): It is wild. But it happens <laugh>

Lucas Mitzel (13:00):

It, It does.

Lucas Mitzel (13:01):  We talk about that all the time. All the time. All

Christy Wilkie (13:03):

Of the time. Yeah.

Lucas Mitzel (13:04):

If there's any like uncontrollable anger or having inability to be flexible with things lashing out at you calling you names. Like now we're getting more into like the abusive stuff, but,

Christy Wilkie (13:14):

But it's important to point out because we tend to believe that what is happening in our lives, or what has happened in our childhood is also what's normal for other people. So you get people that have grown up, let's say in, in an abusive household or where that's, that was the dynamic that their parents had. Sometimes people don't know that those things are toxic. They don't know that they're red flags. They don't understand that this is not how relationships are supposed to go. And you come in and you're like, it's not okay that somebody's yelling at you because you got skim milk instead of whole milk. That's not it. And so even like checking yourself with somebody else who's a bit more objective if something doesn't feel right in your gut, like talk to somebody and see what somebody else thinks about it. 'cause a lot of times that is normal for a lot of people to have relationships like that. And until they realize that that's not how most people are functioning, they're like, whoa. Really?

Lucas Mitzel (14:04):

Yeah. It's crazy how how many times I'll have somebody sit in my office and they're explaining something that's happening. Like it's just a normal Tuesday and my jaw's to the floor. Right. Right. And I'm like, did you just hear what you just said <laugh>? Like, and how wild, like how wild that is. Yeah. And they're like, what are you talking about? So, yeah. I mean, if you're used to chaos and then you're in a relationship, like it's not surprising that Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> you would be attracted to or gravitate towards a relationship that might have some of that chaos, or at least maybe not those things, but be okay with it. Right. Because you've lived it.

Christy Wilkie (14:33):

Sometimes when people say stuff that is happening in their relationship, I'll say, okay, I'm gonna say it. I'm gonna put myself in there and my partner his name in there and you tell me how this sounds. And then they're like, oh no, he can't do that. Yeah. Or even conversely, Christie, you can't do that. It's like, okay, I'm saying the exact same thing that you're allowing in your relationship, so why is it not okay for me to live in that sort of space? But you're telling me that it's okay for you to live in that space. Let's, let's dig into that a little bit.

Lucas Mitzel (15:01):

Yeah. A couple other of my really favorite questions to ask people who are in difficult relationships like that could be a, would you want your child to be with somebody who's like your partner?

Christy Wilkie (15:11):  That's a good one.

Lucas Mitzel (15:12):  If the answer's no, we've got something to talk about. Also, another one is, if you were to meet your partner today, knowing everything you know about today, would you still say yes to being with them?

Christy Wilkie (15:23):  Yep.

Lucas Mitzel (15:24):  The answer's no. We've got, we've got some problems here.

 Lucas Mitzel (15:26): Yep.

Christy Wilkie (15:27): 100%. I think too, when you look at red flags, people that talk down to you or make you feel like you don't deserve them, that they're doing you a favor by being with you. Yeah. It'd be like, you can't get anybody else you, nobody else would wanna put up with you. You've got all this baggage, you've got all this stuff, and, and you talk to a traumatized person who really does feel like they have baggage and that you're right. Nobody, nobody else would wanna be with me. And they really believe that about themselves. It's like taking advantage of somebody's trauma or somebody's low self-esteem or like finding a vulnerable person to prey on almost.

Lucas Mitzel (15:57):  Yeah.

Christy Wilkie (15:59):  That's not cool.

Lucas Mitzel (16:01): Yeah. Or if you feel like you have to fix your partner Yeah. You shouldn't feel like that. That's not healthy. Right. And yeah, it's just not healthy

Christy Wilkie (16:09):

<laugh> and Well, I think it's, it, you know, there's a difference 'cause people read books, right. And, and you can kind of twist things that people say to fit your relationship. People do this. Right. We probably have all done this. Yeah. But there's a difference between wanting to fix your partner and wanting to support your partner, working through something that they need to work through. I can't fix anybody. They have to do the work. I can work through that with you. And it's the same thing with my partner. I can't fix something for my partner, but I can support them and I can talk to them about it while they're doing the work to get that done. But that's different than like feeling like you have to fix somebody.

Lucas Mitzel (16:46):

Yeah. Another example could be like, if you're done with work and you're going home and that feeling does not bring you relief or being around your partner makes you feel negative emotions or the idea of being around your partner makes you feel anxious or anything like that, that's a huge red flag that something's going on.

Christy Wilkie (17:01): That is a huge red flag that something's going on. You should want to be at home for the most Part. <laugh>,

Lucas Mitzel (17:06):

your, your person should make you feel the safest of anybody. Right.

Christy Wilkie (17:10):

Yeah. And, and that's not to say that there are bad days, right. We know that there's bad days and there's some days there's like, we got something that we gotta address when we get home. You know? Yeah. Like that kind of thing. This normal, normal stuff. Relationships are difficult. Is it just me or relationship's hard? Yeah. They are right. They are hard. They're, they're not easy. It's also why we put so much work and energy into them because they're worth it if they're healthy.

Lucas Mitzel (17:31):

We've been talking about not going to extremes. The idea that you would be anxious going home should be the exception, not the rule. Correct. Yeah. The idea that your partner might have a temper them showing that should be the exception, not the rule. Right. So none of us are saying that like, you should not be with people who get angry <laugh>. Like that's, that's ridiculous. Yeah. But if that is something that you are experiencing frequently Yeah. And you are having these feelings of anxiety and not being able to come home or feel relaxed, like that's a problem. Right. If that's what's happening most of the time.

Christy Wilkie (18:03):

Right. Or you know, they're going out with their friends all the time and they're not inviting you along, or they don't want you to be around their family. Like those kinds of things that would warrant an assertive conversation.

Lucas Mitzel (18:03): Absolutely.

Christy Wilkie (18:04): To be like, when you do this, it makes me feel like this. What's, what's our action plan?

Lucas Mitzel (18:19): Yeah. So we've started talking about it a bit because when you talk about toxic relationships, you, you naturally start dipping into some of the abusive tendencies that people can do or the abusive traits of things. But I would say that the difference between a toxic relationship and an abusive relationship is that all abusive relationships are toxic. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. But not all toxic relationships are necessarily abusive.

Christy Wilkie (18:40): Sure. Yeah.

Lucas Mitzel (18:41):But it is a slippery slope if we don't address things. So what are the types of abuse that somebody can go through?

Christy Wilkie (18:47):

Well, I think one is that it's very much overlooked as emotional abuse and verbal abuse. Both of those are, because so many times people feel like, I mean, how many times have, have we heard but he didn't hit me? Or because she didn't, she didn't hit me. So it's okay. And so people tend to put some of those verbally abusive things and emotionally abusive things on the shelf and just be like, it's okay because I wasn't physically hurt. Right. And it's like, no, that's not it. <laugh>. Yeah. Verbal and emotional abuse are two very real things in relationships.

Lucas Mitzel (19:17):

Yeah. And then there's obviously probably the most well known to be physical abuse. Yep. And then there's sexual abuse, obviously a couple of the less known is financial abuse. And then there's, I kind of learned about this a little bit. Digital abuse.

Christy Wilkie (19:33):

Oh Yeah.

Lucas Mitzel (19:34):

So, which makes perfect sense. So digital abuse is the use of technology in the internet to bully, harass, stock, intimidate or control your partner. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So just kinda interesting. It's interesting. I'm glad that it's being recognized.

Christy Wilkie (19:46):

It is. Because how many times do you hear I got into a relationship and so they made me block this person and this person, this person, this person, this person. Yeah. Or I needed to get rid of all of my snap contacts because they weren't comfortable with them in my snap contacts. Or I had to show them my emails. I had to show them my text messages. Or the new thing is like, well, I trust him because he let me go through his phone. Oh my gosh. Why are we going through people's phones? Why do you feel the need to go through somebody's phone? Yeah. Dare I say maybe a pink flag, right. <laugh>, you know, like, is it just me or is that, is that a pink flag? Yeah. But the digital abuse is very real. Or I mean, even what we were talking about earlier with Snapchat where you're stocking snap maps or you're stocking snap scores for people who don't know Snapchat, when you're snapping people back and forth, your Snapchat score goes up. And so if they've snapped them and they're not snapping them back, but they can see their snap score going up, they know that they're snapping somebody else back. Yeah. And so they are like, why are they leaving me on read? And they're snapping all these other people. 'cause I can see their snap score go up. And then it's like, well who are you talking to? What are you doing? It's like, I don't know, maybe they're talking to their brother. Dude, <laugh>, I don't have no idea.

Lucas Mitzel (20:51):

for the technologically illiterate or the Snapchat illiterate. What does on read mean, Christy?

Christy Wilkie (20:57): Oh my gosh. It means that you've sent a message that they've read it and that they have not replied back.

Lucas Mitzel (21:03):

Yes. And this is a,big deal.

Christy Wilkie (21:04):

It is a, ota. It is a tragedy.

Lucas Mitzel (21:08):

Yes. That is a huge insult. It

Christy Wilkie (21:10):

Is a huge insult. Yeah.

Lucas Mitzel (21:12):

Those gen Zers. Yeah.

Christy Wilkie (21:14):

<laugh> <laugh>. It's

Lucas Mitzel (21:16):

Dating ourselves here,

Christy Wilkie (21:17):

But financial abuse. Yes. I mean that, that also isn't talked about very frequently, but is it can be very common.

Lucas Mitzel (21:23):

Yeah and that's where somebody is abusing you through controlling your financial situation. So telling you what you can or cannot buy, how much you can or cannot spend if you're getting an allowance from your partner or something. Or if you are not able to have access to your funds at all. It could also be even them just spending all of the money. Right. So this is an incredibly stressful type of abuse and is really just like with emotional abuse, it's really hard to see anything necessarily quote unquote wrong  with that or seeing it as abuse, but it can destroy a person.

Christy Wilkie (22:01):

Yeah. And I think at the heart of financial abuse is dishonesty. Yeah. And hiding things from your partner. Lying finances in general are relationship killers. I mean, that's one of the one, it's one of the biggest reasons why people get divorced, I think is over financial stuff. Which is why, you know, I know we ad nauseum talk about communication because we're therapists and that's just what we do. And if we don't talk about things then, then what? Then what even is life? But talking about your finances with your partner and having something that works for you Yeah. Is great. Like if you and your partner have an open book and it works for one of you to have an allowance, and that just is what works and that's what you've both agreed on. Okay, cool. That's fine. But if someone is like saying there's no transparency in your finances and they're like, you can only spend $3 a day or a hundred dollars a week, whatever. And it's like, okay, that's fine, that's fine, that's fine. But you have no idea why that is. Like, that's a totally different thing than as a couple together making that decision that this is what's best for us with our finances.

Lucas Mitzel (23:02):

Right. And if going back to the communication thing, if you're unable to have a communication with your partner about the finances to change those rules or even just having a conversation with finances is leading to intense arguments or huge frustration or you're just being shoved off, like told, don't worry about it. Like these are all pretty big warning signs of some controlling behavior.

Christy Wilkie (23:23):

Yeah definitely. And even though we kind of, we talked about verbal and emotional abuse and just kind of like, oh, it's verbal and emotional abuse, but not everybody knows what that is. Yeah. Which goes back to what we were talking about before where some people have always been in abusive relationships in one way or the other. So they don't even know that it's verbally abusive until somebody points that out.

Lucas Mitzel (23:43):

Yep. Verbal abuse and emotional abuse are really similar. And so oftentimes they'll get thrown into the same thing. But emotional abuse, the way I like to kind of describe it as like psychological warfare, and if you're being emotionally abused, typically often you'll feel crazy that your perceptions just aren't reality, even though you swear up and down that that's what you saw or that's what you heard. That's called gaslighting. When that happens to you.

Christy Wilkie (24:07):

Hot word right now It's a hot word, Lucas.

Lucas Mitzel (24:09):

Yeah. And most people who use it have no idea what they're talking about. <laugh>. Right. So gaslighting

Christy Wilkie (24:15):

We’ve arrived at gaslighting.

Lucas Mitzel (24:16):

Yeah. <laugh>, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse and there's a lot of different examples of it, but the biggest example is essentially denying something that happened or denying that they did something to you. Like if I tell Christie, I would like you to pick up your phone right now. And she does that, and I'm like, why did you pick up your phone? I never told you to pick up your phone. That's weird. Why are you picking up your phone? Like, that's gaslighting.

Christy Wilkie (24:38):

That would not be cool.

Lucas Mitzel (24:39):

No. <laugh> it, It is not cool. So if you're doing that to people, stop it.

Christy Wilkie (24:39):It’s not cool Lucas.

Christy Wilkie (24:44):

Yeah. Stop doing that. Yeah. That's a a super effective therapy technique too. Yes. Just telling people to stop doing the thing.

Lucas Mitzel (24:51):

That's what I've been doing. Is that not what you do? <laugh>?

Christy Wilkie (24:54):

Uh, yeah. <laugh>. I start there, right?

Lucas Mitzel (24:57):

Yeah. We're joking by the way. Yeah. That was a joke.

Christy Wilkie (25:00):

Yeah. Sorry, sorry.

Lucas Mitzel (25:01):

Yeah. So gaslighting, there's a lot of different ways that you can do that to somebody or receive gaslighting. Even just saying that what you're feeling is not real or you're being told like you're not sad, stop it. That's, that's gaslighting. And it is very detrimental to relationships, but it is a form of control. And it ultimately is a form of abuse.

Christy Wilkie (25:21):

I do think romantic relationships are especially difficult in this way because there is an insane amount of dopamine that goes into being in a relationship where, I mean, sometimes any sort of contact with that person is like, oh, that feels good. Oh, that feels good. I like that. My brain likes that feeling. Right. And so sometimes you can, you can even talk yourself out of it. And so a lot of times if you think that you're in a relationship where that might be happening, even if your gut even a little bit says it, start writing things down. I tell people, write things down, record conversations if that is helpful for you, because it really is enough to make somebody crazy. 'cause you want to believe that person. You're supposed to trust this person and love this person. And you're telling me, I didn't, you're asking me why I didn't pick up my phone and you're telling me you didn't tell me to. Well obviously you must not have I misheard it. Silly me, you know? Yep. No, that's not me. It's you. You're being a jerk. Yeah.

Lucas Mitzel (26:13):

<laugh>, they're, they're weaponizing what's called cognitive dissonance. In cognitive dissonance is when something in reality happens essentially, and it's not lining up with what you thought. And it causes this intense amount of physical discomfort sometimes. And so the easiest thing, you either have to change what's going on or you have to change your beliefs. And typically the easiest thing to do is change your beliefs. So in a gaslighting situation, when you're like that and you just want this discomfort, not only the argument, but the discomfort of the cognitive dissonance to go away, you're gonna change what you think happened. Yeah. And when you do that, it's really easy to keep doing it. And so then eventually you just stop believing yourself and everything you do or say is crazy. Or you start relying on your partner to tell you what is reality. And that is just not a good place to be.

Christy Wilkie (27:01):

It isn't. And I think Lucas and I have had this conversation a number of times where, when the people that have been around you for your whole life that you trust more than anything, start saying, I don't think that you're the same, or I don't think that this is healthy for you. And your immediate response is to just completely dismiss everything that they're saying and just completely throw yourself into this relationship even though people that you love and trust are saying, Hey, I don't know that this is healthy. And you're like defending them over and over and over. And it's like there might be something there that you need to look into.

Lucas Mitzel (27:29):

Right. Yeah. I think probably the most extreme examples of gaslighting or just emotional abuse is what happens in like cults <laugh>. Yeah. You know? Yeah. Because their family members, especially if you weren't born into the cult family members are like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hey, that's, this isn't good. Like this isn't healthy. They're asking you to do unhealthy stuff. They're isolating you, they're taking you away from their family. They're telling you stuff that's not real. They're, I mean, I can go on and on, but that is like the ultimate emotional abusive situation going on. Right. And you can have that in a partner. You can, which is terrifying.

Christy Wilkie (28:04):

Right and a lot of times those cults in general rely on you adoring something or revering something. And in a gaslighting relationship, it's the person who's doing the gaslighting and that they wanna be in control of the situation. And this is the only way that they know how to find it.

Lucas Mitzel (28:18):

Yeah. So you mentioned power and control. What is that? What do you, what do you mean by that?

Christy Wilkie (28:22):

Power and control in relationships is when there's just an imbalance between who is calling the shots, who's driving the relationship, where are you going, what are you doing, what are you talking about? I mean, it, it can be so many things, but when you constantly find yourself like, I think a scrappy doo <laugh> and Scooby doo.

Lucas Mitzel (28:42):

Do explain.

Christy Wilkie (28:43):

Well, of because it's just like, you know, like Scooby doo's, like, we're going here and, and Scrappy's like, yeah, whatever, whatever. We'll go, we'll go, we'll go. And it's kind of like when you, when you find yourself doing that, instead of being like, no, I, I have something I wanna do. Yeah. I, I have interests that I wanna have. Is is when you're kind of like, this is thrown off.

Lucas Mitzel (29:00):


Christy Wilkie (29:00):

The balance is off. Absolutely. There is not balance in the force.

Lucas Mitzel (29:03):


Christy Wilkie (29:04):


Lucas Mitzel (29:05):

Nice. Thank you for that one. You're welcome. That one I think was for me, it was,

Christy Wilkie (29:08):


Lucas Mitzel (29:09):

Side note, buckle up. 'cause these are the types of analogies we give you. <laugh> and sorry, <laugh>. That one was good though. It did come around. It just had to be patient. Yeah,

Christy Wilkie (29:18):

I know. I know. Yeah. You don't think, not that scooby's a gaslight, but you know Yeah. Power and control.

Lucas Mitzel (29:22):

Right. So there's this wonderful tool or invention or just way to kind of look at this, these behaviors and picture it. And it's called the power and control wheel. And this was made by, I can't remember his name, but he was actually in Duluth, Minnesota. And it's been in use ever since. And I can't remember what the year, but it's been like a significant amount of time. Anyways, the power and control wheel is how abusers remain in control or keep their abuse victims in the relationship because everybody who's never been in an abusive relationship ever is always the one question is

Christy Wilkie (29:58):

Why do you stay?

Lucas Mitzel (29:59):

Why do you stay <laugh>? Yep. Because on the outside it's like, obviously I would get out of that immediately. But it doesn't happen right away. they're sneaky. It's not like day one they're smacking somebody in the face. 'cause yeah. You're gonna leave. Then it's, it is a slow buildup of more and more control until we are getting to the point where now we are physically and or sexually using violence against somebody to keep them in line. So some of the ways that abusers keep their victims is through using intimidation, emotional abuse, which we've covered using isolation, which can include even just saying like, you're not going to be seeing friends, or Hey, we're not gonna be going to this family event. I need you to like work less, things like that. Minimizing, denying and blaming. This kind of falls into some of that gaslighting that can happen.

Lucas Mitzel (30:54):

Yep. Uh, minimizing your problems, denying that anything ever happened, blaming you for everything that might go on using children to make you feel guilty or using children to relay messages using visitation to harass people or threatening to take the kids away like, if you don't stop, I'm gonna divorce you and take all the kids and you'll never see them again using male privilege. Now just a side note here, the power and control wheel is assuming that the victim is female and that the, uh, abuser is male. Just because statistically speaking, that is the case most of the time. This does not mean that these things can't be used by women to abuse men because that does occur. So using male privilege, so like treating her like a servant, making all of the big decisions, acting like the master of the castle, things like that. Economic abuse, which is the financial abuse, controlling all of the money and then just simply using coercion and, and straight threats.

Christy Wilkie (31:49):

Yeah. And I think that the, when you say that it's a slow burn, you didn't say that. I said that <laugh>, it works, it's in order for any of that to work, there's this whole period that comes before that, which is building trust and grooming. Yep. And I think that's where, that's where it gets tricky because in some cases people put in years of grooming to make someone believe that you are a certain way and that you are a different person than what you really are inside. And so in, in order for any of that to work, any of those things that you said, you have to have this baseline trust of this person to be like, that's an exception. That's not who he is or she, that's not who they are. To get yourself in your head to try to put two versions of this person into one person. And the, and the longer that they played the long game to be like, I'm gonna get this person to trust me and make them feel like this is who I really am, so then I can start doing it because it's gonna take them longer to realize it. And then you're even farther into the relationship. And so the grooming and trust building part is huge in order for any of that to happen.

Lucas Mitzel (32:55):

One way that I really liked having an explained to me was it's kind of like if I were to give you a thousand dollars just outta the blue right now, that would feel really awesome. No, I'm not doing that. Okay. <laugh>. Um, and over time I slowly start pulling back on that money and we get to a point where you are getting maybe a penny a day. Now eventually, if I give you like, let's say 25 cents, that's gonna feel like a huge boost. That's where the love bombing comes in. Or if I give you five bucks that's gonna feel really great and love bombing is where abusers will be really awesome and they'll be back to their old selves. And this is the, the piece that the victim is holding onto is this, this love bombing piece. And after a little bit we dive back down, we're giving no money back and they're receiving no love, they're getting abused. And then we get to a point where maybe the victim is thinking about leaving and wanting to get away. We love bomb. Mm-Hmm.  And that's how they, they stay in that relationship and that cycle over and over and over again.

Christy Wilkie (33:56):

or even the profuse apologizing where they in parentheses take accountability for what they've done. And it's like, I'm so sorry. I don't have any money to give you. If I had the money, I would, I would give it to you. Or I'm so sorry I hit you. I'm so sorry that I did these things. Yeah. And feeling like they're genuinely sorry for what they've done and because they've set the scene for the most part to be like, this is who I am. And remember those two years beforehand when I was this perfect person and now we've got this stress and it's, you can always blame it on something that, that apology part of it, it really gets into somebody's head. And it is really, it is really hard to be objective in a relationship like that.

Lucas Mitzel (34:31): It is, it's a lot of mind games. It it is. And it's, it's really hard to get outta that and

Christy Wilkie (34:35):

Well, which we didn't talk about in psychological abuse, which is what that is,

Lucas Mitzel (34:38):

Right. It is really hard for a victim to keep track of even just simple reality because they're, they feel crazy Yeah. With that emotional abuse and they're scared. Yep. So it's, it's just is really hard. And it's really important that if you have a loved one who you think is going through that, that you are supportive. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And that you are just, you are being there for them and you're helping them as much as you can, but you need to be patient. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Because it's obvious to you, it's not to them. Not

Christy Wilkie (35:04):

Even a little bit <laugh>. Right. Until, until they're out of it. Right. Which is why, you know, I always say sometimes you have to listen to those people who are close to you, even if they're saying things that you don't necessarily want to hear. It's worth entertaining and opening your eyes to some of those things to be like, oh, you know, why would they be saying if it, if it wasn't true? I trust this person. And if you are a per, if you're a friend of somebody who's in a relationship like that, don't be afraid to say those little things because being able to say it in a gentle way, even if they maybe don't hear it right away, they do. Like it sticks in there. Yeah. Something starts rolling around up there that something isn't right.

Lucas Mitzel (35:38):

Yeah. So what are some of the traits of a healthy relationship? We've been

Christy Wilkie (35:41):

Healthy relationships. I equate that with secure attachment, which is where it's a balanced relationship. It's 50 50 for the most part. One of the big things of healthy relationships, I think is that you can be together, but that you also support each other in doing things that are important to them and allowing them to have, not allowing them, but even wanting them to have friends outside of you and you going to have friends outside of them where you don't have to be with somebody all of the time that's just like, yes, you're great together, but you're also great apart. And you don't have to have constant contact with them to trust them and to know that they're, that they're there and that they love you and support you and you don't have to ask for it all the time. Those are the big things for me.

Lucas Mitzel (36:21):

Yeah. I think for me, the biggest traits of a healthy relationship are kind of the same ones that I find with toxic ones in that it comes out in your conflict management. So if you can have a conflict with somebody and instead of them blaming you, getting angry, and not listening to you getting defensive, if they can listen and hear you apologize truthfully for what happened listen to your feelings and try to problem solve and move past that and truly try their best to not do it again. Right. Like, that is a sign of a really healthy relationship. It's not necessarily the lack of arguments or conflict, it's how you handle that conflict. That is the true sign of a healthy relationship. Yeah.

Christy Wilkie (37:04):

There's going to be conflict in relationships

Lucas Mitzel (37:07):


Christy Wilkie (37:08):

In every relationship. Yeah. Without a doubt. It, there is not a relationship that goes without conflict. That's why relationships are hard.

Lucas Mitzel (37:15):

Yes, exactly. <laugh>. And if you're in a relationship that's like literally perfect, like I always just say, somebody's probably lying or not being true to themselves.

Christy Wilkie (37:22):

100%. Or you look at Facebook, right? You look at social media and you see people, everything looks great. Everything looks like their relationship must be perfect. It's not, but you're also not gonna post on Facebook about all the times that they left their socks downstairs that annoyed you, for example. That's totally not personal.


Lucas Mitzel(37:40): No, not at all.


Christy Wilkie (37:41 ):Or leaving coffee mugs all over the house. Like you're not,

Lucas Mitzel (37:43):

It's very specific.

Christy Wilkie (37:44):

It's very specific and has nothing to do with me.


Lucas Mitzel (37:46):Absolutely.


Christy Wilkie (37:47): You're not, you're not gonna post about that sort of thing. And so it's like, yes, you're seeing a highlight reel, you're seeing things that, that people are proud of and that they, they want you to see nobody's throwing out pictures of their dirty laundry on social media.

Lucas Mitzel (38:00):

Absolutely. Yeah. It's kinda reminds me of the, um, there's some Instagram parents that I've seen who they post a picture of like them and their family, like, Hey, we're outside families or whatever. And then they posted another picture afterwards and it was like a video of them trying to get to that perfect photo <laugh>. Yeah. And it was like screaming and crying. Yeah. And like they were only out there for like two minutes and Right. But it looks like there's this perfect family and they're outside all the time. And they're having fun and it's like, nah, that's not reality.

Christy Wilkie (38:25):

Right? No. But yeah, conflict resolution is, is a huge part of it. Which goes back to again, communication. I mean, which is probably the biggest sign of a healthy relationship in general is you communicate when things are good, you communicate when things are bad, you communicate when things are sad. And I think that goes back to learning about your partner, right. Because my partner has different needs in our relationship than I have in my relationship. And me understanding what he needs is different than what, than what I need. And giving him what he needs versus, you know, what I need or we are completely different as the spectrum when it comes to that. And understanding that we are different in that way. And that's okay. But going out of your way to, to know your partner and understand what they need from you in certain situations, I think is, is also really important.

Lucas Mitzel (39:11):

Well, that's a perfect segue to talk about love languages.

Christy Wilkie (39:14):

I thought so too. <laugh>.

Lucas Mitzel (39:16):

So what, what are the love languages?

Christy Wilkie (39:18):

Love languages are quality, time, physical touch, gifts, acts of service, and the other one,

Lucas Mitzel (39:26):

Did you say words of affirmation?

Christy Wilkie (39:28):

Words of affirmation, yes. Yeah.

Lucas Mitzel (39:30):

So maybe we should go through, would it be easier, you think, to talk about what they each are, or talk about what they're used for first?

Christy Wilkie (39:36):

Why don't we talk what they are.

Lucas Mitzel (39:37):

Okay. So I'll just start with a couple and then you can take some. Perfect. So, um, physical touch is, I mean it's physical touch <laugh>, so anything like a hug, it can be anything that is considered anything sexual or it could even just be like holding hands. It can be just anything involving touch, cuddling, things like that. People who are physical touch people. It's not just all about sex. And I think that that's a really big misconception Yeah. About the physical touch thing, although that is like the ultimate form of that. People who are physical touch people just like want you to have your hand on them. Right. Or like put your arm around around them at a movie. Or if you just like leaned into them and were cuddling with them, that means the world to them. Yeah. That's how they feel connected. So,

Christy Wilkie (40:22):

And validated I feel like too.

Lucas Mitzel (40:24):


Christy Wilkie (40:24):

It's like, oh, if they're, if they're touching me, then they must love me. <laugh>

Lucas Mitzel (40:28):


Christy Wilkie (40:29):

That then I'm Okay. Yep.

Lucas Mitzel (40:31):

And words of affirmation, it's saying nice things to people. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Right. It's, it's where you are encouraging saying how awesome they are and what they're doing. Well, it's describing them in positive ways. And making them known that you are loving them through your words.

Christy Wilkie (40:49):

Right. I'm really big on validating today. Obviously for some reason I just, it's just on my brain. But when someone's like, Hey, good job, or I really appreciate you, or Wow, you're really good at this. For some people that's, that's what they need. Even if it's uncomfortable to hear sometimes they still like to hear it, but it's uncomfortable.

Lucas Mitzel (41:05):

Yeah. But absolutely.

Christy Wilkie (41:06):


Lucas Mitzel (41:06):

That's there. So what is quality time?

Christy Wilkie (41:09):

Quality time is, again, this one's not a brain buster. It's spending quality time with the people. It's, it's making time out of your schedule for somebody else and making them a priority, I guess with, with the time that you have. We see this a lot with adults and even with kids because these aren't just for romantic relationships. Love languages are for all relationships. You have some kids who really just want quality time with a parent. Like that's very reassuring to them. And the same goes with, with a partner. If, you know, life gets really busy and if someone's not able to carve time out for you and you just feel forgotten all the time, that is not gonna be great for somebody who has quality time as a priority for them.

Lucas Mitzel (41:49):

Yeah. And quality time. It doesn't even have to be anything big. No. It doesn't have to be like this big planned out event that you're doing. It can literally just be you hanging out, not necessarily even talking. Right. You guys are just spending time together.

Christy Wilkie (42:03):

Right. We have that. I have that 'cause I am a quality time person. Quality time and acts of service. And my husband would be like, but I'm just sitting here. I said, I know, but I like that you're just sitting there with me. <laugh>. Right. Like that, that's what I like. He is like, okay, cool. But it's, yeah. You could be doing nothing, but just having time with somebody in the space of someone is even important.

Lucas Mitzel (42:22):

Yeah. Absolutely. So what is, since you mentioned acts of service.

Christy Wilkie (42:26):

 I did. acts of service are doing things for somebody else that kind of relieves some sort of burden that they maybe have. So like unloading the dishwasher or loading it that there's a lot of angst in my voice. <laugh>, I was gonna say there

Lucas Mitzel (42:41):

Dishwasher's some stories there.

Christy Wilkie (42:42):

There is, we could talk about the dishwasher for a while. <laugh> changing out the laundry, mowing the lawn, cooking supper. All of those things are, are acts of service paying the bills? If that's, if that works in your relationship or something that you do for somebody else, that makes their life a little bit easier.

Lucas Mitzel (42:59):

When somebody's doing acts of service, is it important that they do it without being asked? Like, does that

Christy Wilkie (43:05):

Yes. Okay. <laugh> it is, it is important that they do it without being asked because you don't wanna have to nag people. That being said, if it's your expectation that people do acts of service for you, that that is the way that you receive love, that you communicate that to somebody else. Because if you don't set that as an expectation somewhere along the way, they don't know. You can't expect someone to read your mind. And like, if I wake up, I'm like, he better Yeah. Have put those dishes in the dishwasher and if he, if he didn't, then I'm gonna be mad if I didn't tell him that, that was my expectation. Right. You know, so there's, there's communication that goes along with all love languages to try to figure out, you know, how you can best meet the needs of each other in a relationship. But communicating what it is is probably important.

Lucas Mitzel (43:49):

That is a huge thing when it comes to the love languages.


Christy Wilkie (43:55): Yeah.

Lucas Mitzel (43:55): Um, that's why they're called languages. Yeah. Because we have to communicate them

Christy Wilkie( 43:56):

<laugh>. Wow. Weird. So

Lucas Mitzel (43:57):

Weird. The last one is gifts. And I feel like gifts kind of, it's one of the most misunderstood ones. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> because people who, if their love language is gifts, a lot of people think that they are just constantly needing things or need things to be bought for them. Right. Or, and it always has to be these big extravagant things. And that's not true. I've talked with a bunch of people who are gifts people and if you, if you were to find a rock on the side of the road, pick it up and bring it to them and say like, this made me think of you. They would cherish that rock forever.

Christy Wilkie (44:25):

100%. Yeah. Yes. Or a Starbucks order. Yeah. The number of people that are just, if their partner knows their Starbucks order, holy man. That will get you through. Yeah. And it's like a really well spent $5 <laugh>.

Lucas Mitzel (44:39):

Absolutely. It, it just goes on for, for a very long time. These are the people who they really like flowers on Valentine's Day. And they just, they just enjoy. It's, it's about being thought of.


Christy Wilkie(44:50): Right.


 Lucas Mitzel (44:51 ):And that like, I saw this and it made me think of you. It's not about the monetary value of the gift

Christy Wilkie (44:55):

At all. No, not at all. It can be, like you said, a, a rock. It could be sometimes even if somebody hears a song and you like text somebody and be like, that made me think of you. That is the same sort of thing. It's a gift, but it's just not physical.

Lucas Mitzel (45:12):

Yeah. So then with these being languages, we can both speak it and understand it. Right? And so if I might be like a words of affirmation person that is also typically how we automatically communicate Things so you a quality time. And so if I was going to communicate that I really care about you, I might give you a lot of compliments and things automatically and that Sure. It's gonna be nice to hear those things. Sure.

Christy Wilkie (45:38):

Like, of course wildly uncomfortable or

Lucas Mitzel (45:40):

Wildly uncomfortable, but it's, it's not necessarily how you receive love or how you receive that. And so it's really important that when you have a partner that you guys are having these conversations as to how you are receiving love and how you communicate those things as well.

Christy Wilkie (45:54):

Right. I think a, a big one is gifts where it just seems like if somebody gives you something, obviously I care about you, obviously I love you because look at all these gifts that I'm giving you. And for a lot of people, they don't care. They, they don't care if you get a gift. And so if you keep trying to force your love language onto somebody who's not receiving it, it's like if you speak fluent German, I have to speak German to you.


Lucas Mitzel (46:19): Yes.


Christy Wilkie(46:20): You're not gonna understand if I'm speaking to you in Spanish because you'll be like, this doesn't make any sense to me, and I don't really care.

Lucas Mitzel (46:26):

No hable Espanol

Christy Wilkie (46:26):

<laugh>. Yeah. I don't, I don't know what you're talking about. So I have to learn how to speak fluent German. Yes. So it doesn't do someone any good to keep giving somebody gifts if that it's not their love language, just because it's yours. I always think of it in like, when people are sick. When I'm sick, I want people to leave me alone, leave me some groceries outside the door and I'm good to go. My husband on the other hand is a, oh my gosh, <laugh>. He, he is very needy when he's sick. Like he wants attention and he needs nurturing and he wants, you know, I need to give him chicken broth or whatever, <laugh>. But I tend, I tend to think about it. Well, I, I know better now after 17 years of this relationship, but I used to be like, if he's sick, I'm gonna leave him alone because that's what I would want. Yeah. I would wanna be completely left alone. And he, on the other hand, when I was sick, smothered the crap outta me. And I was like, can you just get out of <laugh>? Can you get out of here? Yeah. Can you just leave me alone? And so once we figured that out, and it's like, okay. When I'm sick, he knows to leave me alone and when he's sick, I can try to be more nurturing. Right. Same thing as with love languages.

Lucas Mitzel (47:30):

Absolutely. It's really important that we communicate what it is that, like you said, what we're expecting from people and then also what we do for our love languages. Because if I understand that when you do something that's you showing me love, even if I don't necessarily feel it that way, I can, oh, she's trying to show me that she cares. Or  And so it's really important that you're just communicating those things. Right. And it's something that I also like to point out too with languages and the love languages that, like, there's even different dialects within the, the love languages. So like what my version of physical touch of what means something to me might be different than what somebody else next to me who has the same love language. It's, it's a broad category. Right. But it can mean very different things. It's also that you're not just gonna have like one, like we, we feel love in all of these forms. It's just some are more than others.

Christy Wilkie (48:23):

Right. I go back to gifts. 'cause I think gifts is a very difficult one because a lot of times with gifts too, it's not just the act of giving you something Like a lot of people, if you're gonna take another level, people want gifts that are meaningful that show that you're listening to them. Yeah. That show that you're paying attention, that you're not getting something that they would never like to have and be like, well, but I gave you a gift <laugh> like that. Okay. Right. That's not any good. But I, I do think it's important. 'cause there is a book and a quiz on the love languages if you take the quiz on what your love language is. I think a lot, a lot of people that I've worked with have been actually really surprised at what their love languages have come out to be, because it kind of goes through, it goes through the spectrum in that quiz about where different things land in the love languages and people are like, oh, I never thought that I would come out as a acts of service person. But yeah. That is really how I feel like people are paying attention to me.

Lucas Mitzel (49:14):

Yeah. And you can see these things happening in other areas of life too. So you can kind of generalize this into work. So how you receive praise at work. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> is it, like for me, I'm a words of affirmation person. So I need to hear

Christy Wilkie (49:27):

From You're doing a great job, Lucas, just by the way.

Lucas Mitzel (49:29):

Thank you. You're welcome. See, that makes me feel very loved. Yes. <laugh>, it's really important that my boss tells me that I'm doing a really good job or tells me if she receives a compliment about my work, that I, I receive that and know about that. Whereas for you, you might have a different approach where like maybe it's spending time outside of work together or like taking time and like just having lunch with you. Right. Or things like that. Right. So if we're aware of these things, we can apply them to other stuff. This could be in school work and then obviously your relationships

Christy Wilkie (50:00):

And kids. I think I, I always stress it with kids because there's so many times that I get adults that are like, well, it worked for this kid. Why is it not working for this one <laugh>? It's like, and all your kids are very different and the way that they receive love is very different. One of your kids might love if you, if like, if you go in and and help them clean their room or even clean their room for them. Oh my gosh. What an act of service that is. Yeah. Some kids want the newest video game and of course if you buy 'em the then that, then they feel like they're loved. Some kids wanna be cuddled and hugged and they're like the little love bugs that everybody talks about when the kids are little. It's no different in those kind of relationships as it is in romantic relationships. You just have to know what language you're speaking.

Lucas Mitzel (50:38):

Yes. And like you said, there's, there's a book out there about this and there's also a lot of quizzes. There's a bunch of different free quizzes Yeah. Out there. There are, you can take some are more comprehensive than others. Yeah. But a lot of times people can sort of tell what they do. But if you've never done this, and especially if you're in a relationship like this is a really fun thing to do. It can spark a lot of really fun conversations. Yeah. And

Christy Wilkie (50:59):

It cha it can change over time too. So I mean What my love language was when I was 25 is probably different than it is when I'm 43. And so to always kind of keep on top of it and continuing to have those communications with the people in your life. Super important.

Lucas Mitzel (51:13):

I feel like we could talk about relationships probably forever.

Christy Wilkie (51:15):


Lucas Mitzel (51:16):

And so we're gonna probably have to do a part two or maybe even a part three, at least

Christy Wilkie (51:19):

Until 2028

Lucas Mitzel (51:21):

Probably. Yeah. Yeah.

Christy Wilkie (51:22):

I think we could talk about it that long. <laugh> <laugh>.

Lucas Mitzel (51:25):

Well, we always want to encourage you to ask the question, is it just me? You're likely not alone. And there's always a way to help. If anything we have talked about relates to you, please reach out.

Christy Wilkie (51:36): Do you have a topic you'd like for us to talk about and message us? We'd love to hear from you.

Lucas Mitzel (51:39):

Don't forget to share us with your friends and family.

Announcer: (50:26)
Thanks for listening to today's episode of Is It Just Me? To learn more or make an appointment for psychiatric or mental health services at Dakota Family Services, go to Dakota family or call 1-800-201-6495

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